Sunday, February 7, 2010

Political Two Cents (Canadian, that is)

To prorogue or not to prorogue, that is the question.

Canada's response? Prorogue. Well, it wasn't our response, more so Prime Minister Stephen Harper's response. A lot of Canadians are still asking, what does proroguing Parliament mean? For starters, it means that after Christmas Break, Members of Parliament were not invited back to the Hill for Winter session. A tactic used by minority government's to delay house votes, this political move has only been used three times before. Conveniently, Harper used it once before in 2008 so he is quite familiar with the tactic. The opportunity to delay the house is something that should not be taken lightly.

Most Canadians have absolutely no idea what this means to them. If their MP isn't sitting in session, it really doesn't make a difference in their life. Oh, but it does. When house isn't in session, bills can't be created/passed, thus Canada is at a standstill. During the summer, not such a scary thing - public servants are still hard at work as they are considered essential personnel. What Canadians seem to be forgetting is that in 5 days, all the world will gather on our stage to celebrate our global athletic community and we'll have no sitting government. For example (a bias example mind you...), Bill C-268 that I have been whole-heartedly endorsing and consulting with is currently sitting on the floor of the Senate. With Parliament not in session, this Bill won't get it's final reading or vote before Senate until after the Olympics. Not such a big deal, except the Bill has been nicknamed the 'Olympic Bill', as it deals with mandating the sentence for those accused of human trafficking crimes in Canada. The Olympics are notorious for being one of the highest human trafficking stopping grounds for the child sex trade. With no Senate, there is no Bill and with no Bill, there is no mandated sentence - the vicious cycle continues.

How does this help Harper? Well, some seem to feel that he is interested in a federal election and is using this time to campaign before his opponents have a chance. With Layton taking a backseat for the time being (prayers go out to him and his family), only Ignatieff can truly fight this battle and he is putting up quite the fight. The Monday morning after Parliament was not called back into session, a handful of Liberal MPs were on the Hill working as if nothing was wrong. Their voices could be heard throughout the halls, wearing yellow pins to remind Parliamentarians that they wouldn't be silenced until March. Harper claims he is stalling the house in order to gain a balance on the Hill again, but that balance can't be attained without an where does that leave Canadians.

With the federal election polls essentially tied now, the question remains; to prorogue or not to prorogue?


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